Heat (1995)

Can you believe this classic is 20 years old this year?  It is still fresh and punchy as the day it was released.  Two screen legends, Al Pacino and 

Robert De Niro playing opposite one another.  De Niro plays Neil, the charismatic sophisticated criminal master mind with a penchant for robbing banks.  Pacino on the other hand plays Vincent, a veteran in the police force whose job is to take down bad guys like Neil.

Interestingly this is the first time these pair have shared screen time together.  They have appeared in the same movie before (Godfather Part 2) but never had a scene together.

Michael Mann both writes and directs this masterpiece as he plays the dance of giving these two great actors enough individual screen time to lay down their characters so when they do finally meet half way through in a diner, the tension is electric.

At this point in the movie the characters morals are very well established, with an ironic twist of sensibility from each other.  

Vincent: You know, we are sitting here, you and I, like a couple of regular fellas. You do what you do, and I do what I gotta do. And now that we’ve been face to face, if I’m there and I gotta put you away, I won’t like it. But I tell you, if it’s between you and some poor bastard whose wife you’re gonna turn into a widow, brother, you are going down.

Neil: There is a flip side to that coin. What if you do got me boxed in and I gotta put you down? Cause no matter what, you will not get in my way. We’ve been face to face, yeah. But I will not hesitate. Not for a second.

Naturally there is enough opportunity for Pacino to do his classic shouting routine, which for me personally, never really gets old.  Though let us be honest, nothing like his whole end-of-movie routine 3 years prior in 

Scent of a Woman (HOO HAA).

If this isn’t enough, Mann manages to squeeze in 

Val Kilmer

Jon Voight and 

Tom Sizemore who adds weight to Neil’s crew.   Keep an eye out for a very young 

Natalie Portman who pops up in one of her first movie roles as Vincent’s step daughter.  There is a number of other, now, famous actors that pop up as you forget after 20 years just the sort of names that were attached to this outing.

The movie works very well on all levels.  Had it been a weaker story, then the two actors would have felt over bearing.  Likewise, I can’t imagine any other two leading males playing off one another with the same intensity.  The planets aligned for this one.

If you haven’t seen it, then what are you waiting for?  If you have, then put it on again and remind yourself just what can happen when great actors do a great story.


Viewing Date
Monday, 7th September 2015


IMDB YouTubeTrailer

Apollo 13 (1995)

One of my all time favorite movies that never fails to deliver on one of the most dramatic incidents in the Apollo space missions.  Tom Hanks proves he is one of our generations greatest actors as he slips into the character of Jim Lovell, who was also a technical adviser on the movie.

James Horner provides us with a breathtaking score, which can be best witnessed when Ed Harris (playing Gene Kranz), counts down the take off and the camera then pans to the Saturn rocket lifting off from the tour.  Gives you that wonderful uplifting feeling.

I can’t believe this movie is 20 years old this year, which if you think about it, at the time of them making the movie, the actual incident was only 25 years previous.

This movie stands up beautifully to the test of time and while there was some artistic license taken (for example Ken Mattingly was not watching the launch from a remote field by his car, but was in launch control manning a station) the overall essence of what really happened in those fateful few days is reproduced faithfully.

It is rumored that Buzz Aldrin contacted Ron Howard to ask him where he got the footage of the launch because it was so realistic Buzz actually thought it was authentic and previously unreleased.

Gemini/Mercury/Apollo were truly the glory days of NASA and when one watches this movie you are reminded just how much innovation had to happen to get man on the moon.   When the capsule blows, it is difficult to comprehend just how little technology and low-tech things where, yet, they were still able to co-ordinate things from the ground and bring back the 3 men.

Apollo 13 is a movie that generations will continue to come back to.


Viewing Date
Friday, 21st August 2015


Memorable line
We’ve never lost an American in space, we’re sure as hell not gonna lose one on my watch! Failure is not an option.